8. Essence – Lucinda Williams

Lucinda Williams released her first album, Ramblin’ on My Mind, in 1979. Despite plentiful successful as a songwriter—her songs being recorded by country royalty including Mary Chapin Carpenter, Patty Loveless and Emmylou Harris—it took until 1998’s Car Wheels on a Gravel Road for Lucinda to garner a great deal of attention as a performer in her own right.

Album cover of Essence by Lucinda Williams

With 2001’s Essence, and in particular its title track, Lucinda’s voice—always magnificent—takes a new turn. This, now, is a grown-ass woman who knows exactly what she wants. And what she wants is for adults only. We all know what this song is about: it’s Lucinda being utterly filthy, and here at Threehundredsongs, we fully approve of that sort of thing.

Baby, sweet baby
You’re my drug
Come on and let me taste your stuff

Perhaps later, Lucinda. Can we just cuddle and talk a little while longer?

I am waiting here for more
I am waiting by your door
I am waiting on your back steps

Apparently not: we appear to have a stalking situation on our hands here. There is a myth that men are predatory, while women are the victims. Let’s see…

I am waiting in my car
I am waiting at this bar
I am waiting for your essence

Lucinda’s aching, incessant sensuality come through in every syllable.

Baby, sweet baby
Can’t get enough
Please come find me and help me get fucked up

I am waiting for your essence

By Essence, Lucinda leaves the interpretation open to the reader, as in all good art. I’m pretty sure I know what she means. And, like I said, the lady knows exactly what she wants.

The credits read like an Americana family tree: Ryan Adams, Jim Keltner, Reese Wynans, Gary Louris. But does that matter, when the song is all Lucinda, and is sheer pornography? The passion, the heat and the build-up are tangible in this one. Cold showers all round?

Now in her eighth decade, Lucinda’s fifteenth studio album, Stories from a Rock n Roll Heart is to be released in June of this year. You can pre-order buy it via lucindawilliams.com.

Artist: Lucinda Williams
Album: Essence
Writer: Lucinda Williams
Producer: Charlie Sexton, Lucinda Williams
Released: UMG Recordings, 2001

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